AOC Says Being a Father “Does Not Make a Man Decent”

Fatherly originally published this article on July 23, 2020.

A few minutes into Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s response addressing the sexist remarks that Ted Yoho directed at her, the congresswoman said something particularly sobering: “This is not new. And that is the problem.” On Monday, Yoho accosted AOC outside the steps of the House, calling her “disgusting” and a “f*cking b*tch” supposedly regarding her views on the correlation between crime and unemployment in New York City. 

AOC’s words come the day after Yoho attempted a flimsy apology, where he did not mention her name and denied that he directed vulgar insults towards her. In his speech, he said, “Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language. The offensive name-calling, words attributed to me by the press, were never spoken to my colleagues, and if they were construed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding.” 

In AOC’s poignant reply, she refutes Yoho’s veiled claim that because he has a wife and two daughters that he could not be sexist. She says, “I believe that having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man. And when a decent man messes up, as we’re all bound to do, he tries his best and does apologize.” 

AOC highlights the crucial point that Yoho’s insults essentially gives other men “permission” to accost and verbally abuse women like his wife and daughters. “This issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture of lack of impunity of accepting of violence and violent language against women and an entire structure of power that supports that,” she said.  

Heartbreakingly, AOC discussed how difficult it was for her mom to see that she was accosted so heinously. And her voice broke a bit when she said, “I am someone’s daughter, too. My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter.” 

She recently addressed the incident in a viral video, reminding people to “Shine on, fight for others, and let the haters stay mad.” 

AOC has a point. Just because you’re a girl dad, doesn’t mean you’re a good person. We need higher standards.

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